HC Deb 05 May 1975 vol 891 cc1151-68

Lords Amendment: No. 1, in page 3, line 9, after "above" insert: otherwise than in retail shops with a selling space of less than 250 sq. ft.

10.15 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection (Mr. Robert Maclennan)

I beg to move, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Will those hon. Members who wish to conduct conversations do so outside the Chamber.

Mr. Maclennan

If it would be for the convenience of the House, it might be suitable if at the same time we considered Lords Amendment No. 2, in line 15 at end insert: ( ) in subsection (4) after paragraph (c) there shall be inserted the following new paragraph— '(d) the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to retail shops with a selling space of less than 250 sq. ft.'; I very much sympathise with the view that regulations affecting small shopkeepers should take fully into account their often limited resources. Indeed, the purpose of Clause 2(1)(a) of the Bill is to enable an order to be made allowing the full list of maximum prices simply to be kept available on demand rather than displayed in the shop. This modification of the Prices Act 1974 was introduced in part to help proprietors of small shops with little space to spare and many demands on their time.

The House has considered the issues raised by these amendments very carefully during the passage of the Bill. I believe that no one now seriously disputes that if large sums of public money are to be spent on subsidising essential foodstuffs, it is only right to make such regulations as are necessary to ensure that the full benefit is passed on to the consumer. However, perhaps it is necessary to restate the reason why, in addition to statutory maximum prices, a control on profit margins is needed.

It would certainly make the task to enforcement easier to rely on maximum prices only, but in setting the level of maximum prices, including the area prices fixed for bread, we had special regard for the needs of the small shopkeeper with high costs and low turnover. That is why the maximum prices are generally some way above the prices which most shoppers in urban areas have to pay. Without margin control there would be nothing except competition to prevent those selling at lower prices from raising their prices towards the maximum and thus absorbing part of the subsidy.

I believe that it is well recognised that competition is not always necessarily strong—for example, in rural areas, where there may be only one shop, which could well have a selling space of less than 250 sq. ft.

If instead—and contrary, incidentally, to the expressed wish of the trade—we were to rely on maximum prices only and these were consequently set much lower, at, say, something like the national average, the small shop would be the first to suffer. I am sure, therefore, that it will be agreed that gross profit margins should not be higher in percentage terms than they were before the subsidy was proposed. Only by control of gross percentage margins can we ensure that the full amount of the subsidy is reaching the consumer, and that the wishes of the House in giving effect to our subsidy programme are being properly met. If it is right to have gross percentage margin control for one shop, I believe it is right to have it for all shops.

The number of shops under 250 sq. ft. is undoubtedly large, even though their turnover individually may be small. Their prices may be higher than those of the large supermarkets but in some cases —I believe in quite a substantial number —they are well below the maximum prices set. A number of these small shops, for example, are no doubt members of the voluntary groups and so get the benefit of bulk purchasing. I think it wrong to deny the customers of these small shops, particularly the old and under-privileged who have to use them and cannot perhaps travel to larger shopping centres, the protection which is afforded by this legislation to customers of larger shops.

Moreover, it does not seem reasonable to exclude these smaller shops from the requirement to keep records needed to enable the control to be efficiently exercised and enforced. What we shall ensure in introducing the requisite orders under this clause is that only the minimum of records, adapted as closely as possible to the existing record-keeping practices of the trade, should be required from any retailer. In preparing the orders I undertake that we shall consider most carefully the particular difficulties of small shopkeepers. We shall, of course, follow the normal procedures of consultation which have been established with representatives of the trade—which the Bill extends to record-keeping orders. We shall carry out these consultations thoroughly before making any order. As I indicated in Committee, any record-keeping requirement would not operate retrospectively and a new reference period would in due course be set.

It is not in dispute that small shops should he subject to the maximum prices laid down for subsidised foods. It follows that the shopkeeper himself will need to know those maximum prices. It is only right that his customers, no less than the customers of large shops, should be able to see what those prices are. This is not a very onerous requirement, particularly as we have made provision that it shall be fulfilled with the maximum degree of informality. The notice can be handwritten and the display is to be required for only a small number of best-selling items.

I hope the House will recognise that it would not be reasonable to exempt one class of shop from measures designed to ensure that the full benefits of subsidy expenditure are passed on to the customer.

Mr. Norman Lamont (Kingston-upon Thames)

Like the Minister, I shall not detain the House long as this ground was gone over in depth in Committee. However, we are a little disappointed that the hon. Gentleman should have come back, after these amendments have been made in the Lords, and given such brief consideration to the compelling arguments put forward both in Committee and in the Lords. We have grave reser- vations about the wisdom of reinstating the provision that the Lords deleted.

As the Minister said, the purpose of the amendments is twofold: to give small shops some exemption, first, regarding the display of notices and, secondly, regarding the keeping of records for margin control on subsidised products.

The hon. Gentleman will recall that this matter was debated in Committee. We put down an amendment to try to achieve these two specific objectives. At that time the Minister's objection was that the amendment was framed in such a way that it effectively removed price control altogether. The Lords have made an amendment which not only meets the objectives that we had in mind, but does not sweep away price control in its entirety.

Having studied the debates in the other place, we know some of the Government's objections to the amendments. The first, which the Minister repeated tonight, is that if we deny the obligation on small shopkeepers to keep records, it will mean substituting an inflexible form of control for a flexible one; that is that control will rest on the maximum price mechanism rather than on margin control. We would not object to that, because the maximum prices seem sufficient for controlling the small shopkeepers, particularly as their prices are often closer to the maximum. They tend to have higher costs, higher margins and, in general, higher prices.

These amendments are designed to help the very small shopkeeper. We are talking here about shops of less than 250 sq. ft.—which is very small. We believe that many of these people have recently been overwhelmed by pettifogging and petty-minded bureaucracy. They have had to bear the burden of increased national insurance contributions and of acting as the Government's agent in administering beef and butter tokens. They have had to face the added burden of rates. We believe that if we could relieve them of some of the administrative burden that has been imposed upon them under the prices legislation it would give them some welcome relief.

It is common ground between the two sides of the House that the small shopkeeper has a special role to play in many communities. It is true that his prices are often a bit higher, and that often his margins have to be higher because he has a lower turnover, but in many cases he contributes to a sense of community. Although many people have their main shopping expedition at the weekend at a supermarket, the local shop serves a particular function for during-the-week shopping and for popping in for items which have been forgotten at the weekend. Also, for many elderly people the local shop is the main outlet for buying their weekly food requirements. They are on friendly terms with the local shopkeeper, and in that situation it is unlikely that one will find overcharging or subsidised products being sold at excessive prices.

We believe that the people at whom the amendment is aimed have been overwhelmed by the red tapists' paradise which the Government have been creating. There is an obligation to display or to keep notices of maximum national prices, maximum prices in particular shops, price range notices, notices of the most popular brands, and, on top of that, records for margin control purposes.

We have come a long way since the bread order. If the other orders relating to subsidised foods had followed the model of the bread order we should have reached the situation in which about 200 notices would have had to be displayed in a small shop. Fortunately, the Government retreated somewhat from that position, and we are urging that, having retreated a little, they should go further and recognise that there is no sense in maintaining the obligation to keep records and display notices in these very small shops.

The Government have made one concession, which we welcome. We welcome the fact that many of these notices need not actually be displayed but can be kept in the shop. But that does not relieve the shopkeeper from the burden of having to make the calculations that have to be put into the notices. The maximum prices under various orders are constantly altered. The maximum price of bread is about to be altered for the third time, and there are various kinds of bread for which the adjustments have to be made. The butter order has been amended twice, and there are no fewer than 26 varieties of cheese for which separate records have to be kept and separate prices have to be listed.

Since the debates in Committee we have had one development, and that is that the tea order has been laid before the House. It would need a lawyer to understand the tangled web of provisions under that order. I do not want tonight to go into its provisions—to do so would be out of order in this debate—but they are exceedingly complicated and they illustrate the burden that will fall upon the small shopkeeper trying to understand whether the goods that he is selling conform with it.

10.30 p.m.

I urge the Minister again, having made the concessions that he has, to go a little further. Now that a number of these notices can be kept in drawers, behind the sugar and under the dog and need not be displayed permanently, is it so necessary to continue with all these regulations? If a maximum price was displayed in a small shop, I wonder how many people would know whether it was correct. I suspect that only the enforcement officer would know. I wonder how many people, in front of all the other customers, will ask the small shopkeeper to open the drawer and show them the notices stuffed there. This does not serve much purpose at all.

A further point which has not been answered before is that the maximum prices specified on these notices often bear no relation to what is being sold in the shop. In fact, prices might be stipulated in some notices which would be illegal under other parts of the prices legislation. Some of the notices seem to have no relevance to what is sold or is likely to be sold.

The Minister cast a little doubt on the forces of competition in this area, but if these regulations are to be enforced on the larger trader—if he is to be compelled to have these notices and this margin control—it is unlikely that the smaller shop will charge much higher prices. If the regulations are actually biting on the larger shop the market will look after the prices charged by the smaller shop. In these small shops, where there is a close relationship between the customer and the shopkeeper, it is unlikely that the fiddling of customers that the Minister fears will occur.

Alas, because of regulations under successive Governments, small shops have been facing increasing pressures. In a number of respects, the number of shops offering services has diminished sharply over the last 10 years. In that time, a third of our newsagents, grocers and tobacconists and a quarter of our greengrocers, fishmongers and chemists have disappeared. There has been a dramatic rate of closure among small shoe repairers. Many of the people who operate these small businesses are close to despair at the burden being placed on them. They wonder whether it is worth all the effort, overtime and enterprise that they put into running efficient businesses. Beadledom and bumbledom will now be revealed in all their glory administering this tangled web of regulations.

The amendments will not go far, but at least they will remove some of the administrative burden on small shopkeepers. For that reason, we shall support the Lords amendments.

Mr. John Pardoe (Cornwall, North)

I represent a rural area in which there are still, although I dare say not for much longer, a large number of small village shops, many of which would come into the category defined in the amendments. I do not expect many of them to be there in my grandchildren's time if the present decimation of rural services and industries goes on.

However, I accept immediately the logic of the Government's argument: once we have price controls and subsidies, it is only right and proper that the controls should try to ensure that public money is not misspent and misused. Taking subsidies for granted, although I have opposed them, we have to have these regulations over the whole panoply of shops. This spectre of bureaucracy and red tape for these very small shops is a crippling burden for people who find it increasingly difficult to master the bureaucratic necessities of modern life and the running of a small business.

I have been unable to find out from the debates in another place with how many small shops through which subsidies may leak we are dealing. How many are there and how many are concerned with subsidies? What proportion of the total of subsidies is likely to go through them? I suspect that it is a very small amount.

We are adding not to the Government's administrative costs, but to the compliance costs of shopkeepers—unnecessarily, I suspect, because even if the amount of subsidy in each shop were to leak out, I dare say that would be a very small amount of public money. We have to balance the advantages of saving a small amount of public money against the inconvenience.

Mr. Giles Shaw (Pudsey)

When we discussed this matter in Committee, some of us were concerned to press the Government to omit the implications of the maximum price orders and display notices for small shops. When we saw the concession that would offer either display of the notice or the keeping of records for reference, we felt we had gone some way in demonstrating the rightness of the moral argument.

It is absurd that we should be considering whether this information is useful to the public and whether it should be displayed or kept in a drawer. It is either useful and important information or it is not. As Government agree that it may be displayed or kept in a drawer, we must ask what is the object of having the information circulated to the smallest shopkeeper.

If it is not available to the consumer looking around and she has to ask for it, it can hardly be a particularly important piece of information in the retail situation, and this is the contention behind the Lords amendments which we wish to support. It is that, at this level of trading, the kind of information required to be kept is frankly useless to the consumer and the shopkeeper. Its utility is in direct relation to its accuracy and it will have to be kept up to date at increasing speed in view of the way in which food prices are now moving.

It would have to be used by the small shopkeeper in an intelligent and regular fashion and, with the best will in the world, I do not believe that the House could expect the lower end of the distributive trade to keep pace with what is required to utilise the information. The only possible use for it must be in the possible checks that may be imposed by the fair trading officers operating on behalf of the Department. As taxpayers, we would not wish them to be calling on the smallest outlets where the least trade is done in subsidised food. They should concentrate on maximum outlets where the greatest throughput is involved and where maximum prices for subsidised foods are of great importance.

I remind the Minister of the Price Commission's report on profits in the distributive trade. Paragraph 2.4 says: Profit margins within the control remain at a very depressed level. For Category 1 manufacturing and service companies, net profit margins in the fourth quarter 1974 were 50.2 per cent. of reference levels compared with 52.4 per cent. in the third quarter. A year earlier (fourth quarter 1973) they had been 71.4 per cent. For Category II manufacturing and service companies, the fourth quarter figure was 57.8 per cent. compared with 54.3 per cent. in the previous quarter and 65.0 per cent. a year earlier. For distributors, there has been an a apparent sizeable recovery but this is largely illusory. In the fourth quarter 1974, net profit margins were 75.3 per cent. of reference levels compared with 58.8 per cent. in the third quarter. But the fourth quarter figures reflect the peak Christmas trading when profits are seasonally high. The 75.3 per cent. for the fourth quarter 1974 compares with 94.5 per cent. for the corresponding quarter of 1973. While the fourth quarter shows some improvement from the very depressed levels of the third quarter, the general level of profitability, seasonally-adjusted, is still very low. It is paramount in distribution, where operating margins are continually being squeezed against costs, that we should recognise that, although the position is bad for the larger distributors covered by the report, it is even worse for smaller shops. We all know the administrative burdens and the costs that the small shops have to hear and their lack of opportunity to develop turnover.

I hope that the Minister will accept our view even at this late stage. If the information may be kept instead of being displayed, it cannot be all that useful, certainly not to the consumer, and it would not be worth while for the fair trading officer and the local authority officer to check on the smallest shops.

The buck having to rest on the smallest shop, which is a back not big enough to carry it, and following the trends against the small shops and the competition of pricing from the supermarkets and larger stores, there is sound reason for believing that maximum pricing, even in the smallest shops, would seldom be exceeded.

Mr. Maclennan

The hon. Member for Kingston-up-Thames (Mr. Lamont) stated on behalf of the Opposition that there was no objection to maximum price control in place of margin control. That was an honest admission of the difficulties of the Opposition in dealing with the powers involved in the Prices Act. That is in line with the views that the trade has expressed to us from the beginning—that cash margin control is not acceptable because of the rigidity that it would place upon the trade, and to move from a percentage margin control to a cash margin control, which I take to be the logic of what the Opposition are suggesting, would be quite unacceptable and for that reason not a line that the present Government would be likely to take.

The hon. Member has rightly emphasised that both sides of the House recognise the importance of the small shop in providing for the needs of the communities dependent upon them, particularly the less advantaged who are immobile and who regularly use the corner shop or the village shop because they cannot get to the larger shop. But that recognition has a certain logic that the Opposition have not been prepared to follow through, namely, that those who are dependent upon the corner shop must be protected from abuse. If Parliament votes substantial sums of money for food subsidies, it is right that those who use the small shoo should benefit as do those who use the larger shops.

The hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) said that the amount involved might be very small because the number of outlets might be very small. There is no authoritative indication of exactly how many shops of this size there are, but that they probably run into thousands is certainly clear. Although their total number is large and their turnover fairly small, they are of key importance in servicing the needs of some people, particulaly those living in rural communities, as the hon. Member will be aware. We must protect people living in such communities just as much as people living in reach of the larger multiples.

I cannot accept his view that what we propose will place a crippling burden on the small shopkeeper. Both the hon. Member for Cornwall, North and the hon. Member for Pudsey (Mr. Shaw) made this point and it has been made in earlier debates. Although much has been made of these difficulties, it may be a measure of the trade's lack of interest that we have not received one representation on behalf of traders, large or small, about these proposed new powers. This must stem from the fact that from the beginning we have displayed a complete willingness to adapt our requirements to the needs of particular sections of the trade. When we bring forward orders we shall continue the practice of close consultation to ensure that difficulties such as have been apprehended are not realised.

10.45 p.m.

Mr. Gwilym Roberts (Cannock)

Does my hon. Friend agree that one reason for the lack of representations from the trade is that it is probably in the interests of the small businessman to be brought into line with the supermarket? The small shop depends upon good will, and it is therefore essential that the customer should feel that he is getting in the small shop whatever the supermarket provides.

Mr. Maclennan

My hon. Friend has a valid point. There are advantages in the small shop keeper being able to announce to his customers that the benefits of the subsidies are being passed on. The hon. Member for Pudsey succeeded, according to his lights, in persuading the Government of the desirability of making certain changes in the law, particularly in respect of the requirement for information to be kept, not on display but available in the shop. He says that this is not important. I disagree. We made that change in the Bill to ensure that the small shopkeeper would not find his shelf space cluttered up with a lot of information. It seems a sensible change.

That is not to say that the shopper who uses the small shop should not be entitled to ask for information which the shopkeeper must have if he is to satisfy the legal requirement that he charges no more than the maximum price. All we say is that this information should be available to the shopper.

I hope hon. Members will accept that the purpose of these proposals is to ensure that the public funds involved are properly applied in a non-discriminatory way to all shoppers, regardless of the type of shop they use. They are a protection for those such as the disadvantaged and the immobilised who rely upon the special services of the small shop.

Mr. Michael Neubert (Romford)

We have had a short debate and I must be careful to ensure that my speech does not greatly add to its length.

We have concentrated in earlier debates, quite rightly, upon the food subsidies themselves, staggering sums, an expenditure which we believe wasteful and largely indiscriminate. Here we are considering the unseen costs of the subsidies, the extensive apparatus of control, the demands on the unpaid time of shopkeepers and the unquantified expense of enforcement to local government, already suffering from the many duties transferred to it from the Government. To that extent we must agree with the Lords amendment. As my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Lamont) said, these shops are an important part of our national life, providing a service to people in small communities, not only in the country but in those parts of our larger towns and cities that are old-fashioned and off-centre.

The owners of small shops work long hours, weekdays and weekends. They rarely take holidays, and are prepared to provide a wide range of articles in penny numbers. We ask for some special consideration for them. This legislation makes no distinction between the corner shop and the hypermarket. It is clear that orders will be introduced, and the Secretary of State has promised one that will make two small concessions to the small shopkeeper. First, he would not have to display the price range of non-subsidised foods. In the case of subsidised foods, the price range displayed would start at a higher price. The last is, presumably, a statutory figleaf to cover the fact that there are lower prices available in the larger supermarkets elsewhere.

The Government should go further—first, by exempting the smaller shopkeepers from the necessity to comply with this requirement of records which, far from being the free give-away indispensable tool of management it has been claimed to be, will turn out to be yet another unpaid job at the end of a weary day, and, secondly, by relieving small shopkeepers from the necessity of displaying all these official notices so reminiscent of the Second World War and the blitz, needing only the Fougasse poster "Careless talk costs lives" to be completely in period.

In case hon. Members should think that there is not some sign of concession, I should indicate that there is a breach in the 100 per cent. principle. Is it fair that these small shopkeepers should suffer these irksome chores merely so that civil servants should not turn uneasily at night at the thought of being arraigned before the Public Accounts Committee? The Under-Secretary of State, in the debate on the Butter (Prices) Order, pointed out that the Government have not required the display provisions to be applied to mobile shops, such as milk floats and the vans of grocery roundsmen. Is the public's money not just as much at stake when the shops are mobile as when they are stationary? Is the little old lady who cannot walk down to the local shop to be at the mercy of her friendly van driver? Is not the house-wife to be protected from her milkman? The breach is already made. Emboldened, we go in hot pursuit for further exemption for the small shopkeeper.

There are other helpful passages from the same speech. The Under-Secretary said that maximum prices are intended to be those at which the reason-ably efficient small shopkeeper can continue to supply butter. It therefore follows that only the unreasonably efficient small shopkeeper is

likely to be able to sell at less than that price. There is no question of reducing the maximum price.

The Under-Secretary reinforced the point in these words: the small corner shops that will find themselves most effectively controlled by the maximum price regulation of the order."—[Official Report, 13th January 1975 Vol. 884, cc. 134-38.]

That was a point which was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Pudsey (Mr. Shaw).

If small corner shops are so completely controlled by the maximum price regulation, why not leave it at that? We all know that we do the British public no service by burdening them with unnecessary legislation. If from this small debate we can bring some small relief, as the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) said, to the small shopkeeper—a member of a small, hard-working. hard-pressed, moderately-paid section of the community—it will have been parliamentary time well spent.

Question put, That this House cloth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment.

The House divided: Ayes 244. Noes 215.

Division No. 197.] AYES [10.55 p.m.
Anderson, Donald Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Ewing, Harry (Stirling)
Archer, Peter Cohen, Stanley Faulds. Andrew
Armstrong, Ernest Colquhoun, Mrs Maureen Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.
Ashton, Joe Concannon, J. D. Fitch, Alan (Wigan)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Flannery, Martin
Atkinson, Norman Corbett, Robin Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Cronin, John Ford, Ben
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Forrester, John
Bates, Alf Cryer, Bob Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)
Bean, R. E. Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Fraser, John (Lambeth. N'w'd)
Been, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Freeson, Reginald
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Davidson, Arthur Garrett, John (Norwich S)
Bishop, E. S. Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Gilbert, Dr. John
Blenkinsop, Arthur Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Ginsburg, David
Boardman, H. Davies, Ifor (Gower) Golding, John
Booth, Albert Deakins, Eric Gould, Bryan
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Graham, Ted
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Delargy, Hugh Grant, George (Morpeth)
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Grant, John (Islington C)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Dempsey, James Grocott, Bruce
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Doig, Peter Hardy, Peter
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Dormand, J. D. Harper, Joseph
Buchan, Norman Douglas-Mann, Bruce Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Buchanan, Richard Duffy, A. E. P. Hart, Rt Hon Judith
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Dunn, James A. Hatton, Frank
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Dunnett, Jack Hayman, Mrs Helene
Campbell, Ian Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Heifer, Eric S.
Canavan, Dennis Eadie, Alex Hooley, Frank
Cant, R. B. Edge, Geoff Horam, John
Carmichael, N[...]il Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Howell, Denis (B'ham, Sm H)
Carter, Ray English, Michael Hoyle, Doug (Nelson)
Cartwright, John Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Clemitson, Ivor Evans, John (Newton) Hunter, Adam
Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Small, William
Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Millan, Bruce Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Snape, Peter
Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N) Spearing, Nigel
Janner, Greville Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen) Spriggs, Leslie
Jeger, Mrs Lena Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Stallard, A. W.
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
John, Brynmor Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Stoddart, David
Johnson, James (Hull West) Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Stott, Roger
Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Newens, Stanley Strang, Gavin
Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Noble, Mike Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Jones, Barry (East Flint) Oakes, Gordon Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Jones, Dan (Burnley) O'Halloran, Michael Swain, Thomas
Judd, Frank O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Kaufman, Gerald Orbach, Maurice Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Kelley, Richard Ovenden, John Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Kerr, Russell Owen, Dr David Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Kinnock, Neil Palmer, Arthur Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Lambie, David Parker, John Tierney, Sydney
Lamborn, Harry Parry, Robert Tomlinson, John
Lamond, James Pavitt, Laurie Tomney, Frank
Leadbitter, Ted Peart, Rt Hon Fred Torney, Tom
Lee, John Perry, Ernest Urwin, T. W.
Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Phipps, Dr Colin Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Lewis, Arthur (Newham N) Prescott, John Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Lipton, Marcus Price, C. (Lewisham W) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Litterick, Tom Price, William (Rugby) Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Loyden, Eddie Radice, Giles Ward, Michael
Luard, Evan Richardson, Miss Jo Watkins, David
Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Watkinson, John
Mabon, Dr J. Dickson Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Weetch, Ken
McElhone, Frank Robertson, John (Paisley) Weitzman, David
MacFarquhar, Roderick Roderick, Caerwyn Wellbeloved, James
McGuire, Michael (Ince) Rodgers, George (Chorley) White, James (Pollok)
Mackenzie, Gregor Rodgers, William (Stockton) Whitehead, Phillip
Mackintosh, John P. Rooker, J. W. Whitlock, William
Maclennan, Robert Roper, John Wigley, Dafydd
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Rose, Paul B. Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
McNamara, Kevin Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock) Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Madden, Max Ryman, John Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Magee, Bryan Selby, Harry Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Mahon, Simon Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South) Woodall, Alec
Marquand, David Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne) Woof, Robert
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford) TELLLERS FOR THE AYES
Mason, Rt Hon Roy Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich) Mr. John Ellis and
Maynard, Miss Joan Silverman, Julius Mr. James Hamilton.
Meacher, Michael Skinner, Dennis
Adley, Robert Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutslord) Hall, Sir John
Aitken, Jonathan Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Hall-Davis, A. G. F.
Alison, Michael Dodsworth, Geoffrey Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Hampson, Dr Keith
Arnold, Tom Drayson, Burnaby Hannam, John
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye)
Awdry, Daniel Durant, Tony Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss
Baker, Kenneth Dykes, Hugh Hastings, Stephen
Banks, Robert Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Havers, Sir Michael
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Hawkins, Paul
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Emery, Peter Heath, Rt Hon Edward
Biffen, John Eyre, Reginald Heseltine, Michael
Blaker, Peter Fairbairn, Nicholas Hicks, Robert
Boscawen, Hon Robert Fairgrieve, Russell Higgins, Terence L.
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Farr, John Holland, Philip
Brittan, Leon Fisher, Sir Nigel Hordern, Peter
Brotherton, Michael Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Howell, David (Guildford)
Bryan, Sir Paul Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Buck, Antony Fox, Marcus Hurd, Douglas
Budgen, Nick Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Hutchison, Michael Clark
Bulmer, Esmond Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham) Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)
Burden, F. A. Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) James, David
Carlisle, Mark Goodhart, Philip Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd&;W'df'd)
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Goodhew, Victor Jessel, Toby
Clark, William (Croydon S) Goodlad, Alastair Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Gorst, John Jopling, Michael
Clegg, Walter Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Cockcroft, John Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Kaberry, Sir Donald
Cope, John Gray, Hamish Kershaw, Anthony
Corrie, John Grieve, Percy Kimball, Marcus
Costain, A. P. Griffiths, Eldon King, Evelyn (South Dorset)
Crouch, David Grist, Ian King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Crowder, F. P. Grylls, Michael Kirk, Peter
Kitson, Sir Timothy Neubert, Michael Sims, Roger
Knight, Mrs Jill Newton, Tony Sinclair, Sir George
Knox, David Normanton, Tom Skeet, T. H. H.
Lamont, Norman Onslow, Cranley Smith, Dudley (Warwick)
Langford-Holt, Sir John Osborn, John Speed, Keith
Latham, Michael (Melton) Page, John (Harrow West) Spence, John
Lawrence, Ivan Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Sproat, Iain
Lawson, Nigel Pardoe, John Stanbrook, Ivor
Le Marchant, Spencer Pattie, Geoffrey Stanley, John
Lester, Jim (Beeston) Penhaligon, David Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Loveridge, John Percival, Ian Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Luce, Richard Peyton, Rt Hon John Stokes, John
McAdden, Sir Stephen Pink, R. Bonner Stradling Thomas, J.
McCrindle, Robert Prior, Rt Hon James Tapsell, Peter
Macfarlane, Neil Raison, Timothy Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
MacGregor, John Rathbone, Tim Tebbit, Norman
Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Rawlinson, Pt Hon Sir Peter Temple-Morris, Peter
McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal) Townsend, Cyril D.
McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Rees-Davies, W. R. Trotter, Neville
Madel, David Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts) Tugendhat, Christopher
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Mates, Michael Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Mather, Carol Ridsdale, Julian Viggers, Peter
Mawby, Ray Rifkind, Malcolm Wakeham, John
Mayhew, Patrick Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Meyer, Sir Anthony Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW) Wall, Patrick
Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Warren, Kenneth
Mills, Peter Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Weatherill, Bernard
Miscampbell, Norman Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) Wells, John
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Monro, Hector Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire) Wiggin, Jerry
Moore, John (Croydon C) Sainsbury, Tim Winterton, Nicholas
Morgan, Geraint St. John-Stevas, Norman Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral Scott, Nicholas Young, Sir G. (Eating, Acton)
Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Scott-Hopkins, James Younger, Hon George
Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Shaw, Michael (Scarborough) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Neave, Airey Shepherd, Colin Mr. W. Benyon and
Nelson, Anthony Shersby, Michael Mr. Anthony Berry

Question accordingly agreed to.

Subsequent Lords amendment disagreed to.

Committee appointed to draw up reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to their Amendments to the Bill: Mr. John Ellis, Mr. Norman Lamont, Mr. Robert Maclennan, Mr. Michael Neubert, and Mr. Alan Williams; Three to be the quorum.—[Mr. Maclennan.]

To withdraw immediately.

Reason for disagreeing to the Lords amendments reported, and agreed to; to be communicated to the Lords.

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